Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search


Continuing High Demand for Banking Ombudsman



Continuing High Demand for Banking Ombudsman After 20 Years in Business

The Banking Ombudsman Scheme is as important as ever in the banking landscape, despite the industry becoming increasingly attuned to meeting the needs of modern customers, says Banking Ombudsman Deborah Battell.

The Banking Ombudsman Scheme today released its annual report for the 2011/12 year, marking 20 years of dispute resolution in the financial services sector. The scheme was New Zealand’s first voluntary industry-based Ombudsman, established by the New Zealand Bankers’ Association to provide an independent and impartial alternative dispute resolution mechanism for the banking industry and its customers.

Over the last 20 years, the scheme has helped over 62,000 customers, resolved around 20,000 cases and facilitated $36.9 million in compensation. In 2011/12, case-loads remained at historically high levels, with disputes – where banks and their customers have reached an impasse, or where they are simply looking for an independent view – increasing by 20%.

Ms Battell says the banking industry has changed dramatically since 1992, and continues to evolve as new technologies emerge. The types of complaints received have reflected industry developments such as new banking products and services, as well as economic conditions.

“For example, cheque-related cases made up 21% of our caseload in 1992/93, but only 3% this year. Credit card cases also peaked around 2001, but have since fallen back, reflecting banks’ ability to resolve these cases themselves and greater customer familiarity with the way that credit cards work,” says Ms Battell.

“More recently, since the global financial crisis, many of the cases we have investigated have involved complex investment products as well as the lending-related issues that accompany financial hardship. It’s clear that some customers did not understand the risks and benefits associated with fixed term lending.”

Problems of miscommunication are a theme in complaints to the Banking Ombudsman. “Many complaints continue to reflect mismatched expectations” notes Ms Battell. “Banks can help avoid complaints by setting more realistic expectations of their service, and by providing customers with better and more readily understandable information. Customers can avoid problems by asking questions, reading their contracts and ensuring they fully understand what they are signing up for.”

What has remained constant for two decades is the need for an independent arbitrator to help lift industry standards. “Customers tell us they want an independent view and that is exactly what we can give,” says Ms Battell.

The Banking Ombudsman looks forward to continuing to provide high quality dispute resolution services for the benefit of customers and financial institutions, and to highlighting emerging financial issues for the public.


The Annual Report is available online at

© Scoop Media

Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


Oceans: NOAA Declares Third Ever Global Coral Bleaching Event

As record ocean temperatures cause widespread coral bleaching across Hawaii, NOAA scientists confirm the same stressful conditions are expanding to the Caribbean and may last into the new year, prompting the declaration of the third global coral bleaching event ever on record. More>>

Scoop Business: A Decade Of Government Pre-Seed Investment

More publicly-funded science is being commercialised after a decade of government ‘pre-see’d investment, according to an independent review. More>>


Solid Energy: Plan To Shut Unprofitable Huntly East Mine

Solid Energy, the state-owned coal miner in voluntary administration, plans to shut down its unprofitable Huntly East mine and lay off 65 staff after deciding the site stands "no chance whatsoever" of finding a buyer. More>>


E Tū: Merger Creates NZ's Biggest Private Sector Union

E tū has been created by the merger of the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union and Service and Food Workers’ Union. It represents more than 50,000 working New Zealanders in industries as diverse as aviation, construction, journalism, food manufacturing, mining and cleaning. More>>


Internet: NZ Govt Lifts Target Speeds For Rural Broadband

The government has lifted its expectations on faster broadband speeds for rural New Zealand as it targets increased spending on research and development in the country's information and communications technology sector, which it sees as a key driver for export growth. More>>


Banks: Westpac Keeps Core Government Transactions Contract

The local arm of Westpac Banking Corp has kept its contract with the New Zealand government to provide core transactions, but will have to share peripheral services with its rivals. More>>


Science Investment Plan: Universities Welcome Statement

Universities New Zealand has welcomed the National Statement of Science Investment released by the Government today... this is a critical document as it sets out the Government’s ten-year strategic direction that will guide future investment in New Zealand’s science system. More>>


Get More From Scoop

Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news